Julien-K

Julien-K’s Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh have eaten from the vine of rock stardom. As members of Orgy, Shuck and Derakh experienced platinum success, sold-out tours, and the feeling of hearing one of their songs constantly on the radio thanks to multiple top 10 hits, including “Fiction” and “Stitches,” and their ubiquitous cover of New Order’s “Blue Monday,’ a track whose universal appeal led it to #1 on the Dance Music chart, a top 5 on the Modern Rock chart, and became a crossover hit on the Top 40 pop charts.

As someone who’s lived rock stardom, Shuck, who handles vocals in Julien-K, wonders where it is today. “Why is there no band that’s really rocking my world?,” Shuck asks. “Where are the revolutionaries? Where is the band that’s doing that? I haven’t seen any bands stirring that up, bringing a new look, a new everything, kids buying guitars because they want to sound like that band. I’m not seeing that at all.”

But rather than sit and bemoan what’s missing, Shuck, along with Derakh and fellow Julien-K mates, Brandon Belsky, on keyboards, and Elias Andra, drums, plans to do something about it. “With Julien-K that’s what I’m going for. I don’t give a shit about sales. I give a shit about making a wave,” Shuck says.

The wave begins this Spring with the release of the band’s debut album, Death To Analog, co-produced by Derakh (whose production and engineering resume includes Coal Chamber, the Eels, Danzig, and remixes for Motor, Mindless Self Indulgence, and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington) and Anthony “FU” Valcic (Skinny Puppy, Download, Marilyn Manson). Throughout Death To Analog Julien-K meld their passion for electronic music and explosive live rock. According to Derakh, “We are this sort of hybrid of an electronic band and a rock band, which Orgy was as well, but we’re actually skewed more electronic,” he says. “I think deep down inside we really felt that we had always wanted the band to go in the direction of what we’re doing now.” “That was the initial thought behind Orgy, to become an electronic band that could play with the likes of the rock bands,” Shuck adds.

Among the standout tracks on Death To Analog are “Kick The Bass,” which combines a Bauhaus-like intro with a pop hook and gothic-heavy electro feel; the Depeche Mode-flavored, “Forever”; the straight dance beat and aggressive vocals of the title tune; a robotic, industrial take on Romeo Void’s alternative radio format, “Never Say Never,” and “Technical Difficulties.”

That last song, which marries the techno feel of Daft Punk with the industrial heaviness of KMFDM, is the one that earned Andra his job with Julien-K. “’Technical Difficulties’ was the clincher,” Shuck recalls. “We said, ‘You can’t play ‘Technical Difficulties.’ That’s not a playable song. And he sat down and said, ‘Oh, I can play that.’ And that was it.” Andra, a Texas native who’s played with the likes of The Dreaming (featuring Christopher Hall of Stabbing Westward) and CCCP, is thrilled to be bridging the gap between electronic music and live playing.

Rounding out the foursome is Belsky, whose relationship with Shuck and Derakh dates back to Orgy. Derakh says Belsky’s versatility makes him a sort of secret weapon in Julien-K. “He’s an engineer as well and actually when we brought him back in we had a few guys we were working with at the time,” Derakh says. “We were actually having a hard time getting engineers to work full time because everybody had different gigs. We wanted people dedicated to just this. Brandon was one of the guys that started helping and we started realizing pretty early on, ‘Hey, maybe this guy is more than just…maybe he can be a part of what we’re doing. He’s got a lot to offer; he sings, he writes.’” “And then he got good looking,” Shuck adds laughing.

Derakh and Shuck call Valcic, whose relationship with the pair dates back to their Orgy days, the “fifth member” of Julien-K and he says he embraced the project as such. “In terms of production and such I dove into it, but also I played keyboards and write,” he says. “We collaborated in a sense on this studio project. So I dove in as a band member so to speak. But I’m not a band member. Besides his long history with the band, , Valcic joined the extended Julien-K family because it allowed him to return to music he loves. “Going back to the earlier days of my career, when I was coming out of high school, nothing clicked for me until I heard Depeche Mode. Then I got into Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Cure, The The, Front 242,” he says. “And it’s very much up their alley. It’s like this comeback of my roots.”

But it all comes back to the same thing, kicking ass and taking names. “We are trying to say something, we are trying to change things, we are trying to take performance to another level, we are trying to integrate technology in a way that no one ever has, we are trying to continue to write great songs, we are trying to write hooks and have great choruses, we are trying to talk about real life, our lives, situations, things that people can actually identify with, real life, love, relationships, all the things that I used to love in music,” Shuck says. “We are trying to keep passion in music.”

//

Discography
DEATH TO ANALOG LIMITED EDITION 2CD · MET 589· buy CD
DISC 1 // 1. Death To Analog 2. Someday Soon 3. Kick The Bass 4. Technical Difficulties 5. Systeme De Sexe 6. Maestro 7. Forever 8. Spiral 9. Nvr Say Nvr 10. Dystopian Girl 11. Look At U 12. Stranded 13. Disease 14. Futura (DTA Mix) // DISC 2 // 1. Someday Soon (Headcleanr Remix) 2. Maestro (Koma & Bones Remix) 3. Spiral (Paul Oakenfold Remix) 4. Kick The Bass (She Wants Revenge Remix) 5. Disease (Franz & Shape Remix) 6. Stranded (Jagz Kooner Remix) 7. Forever (Bon Harris Remix) 8. Systeme de Sexe (Combichrist Remix) 9. Death to Analog (Mike Shinoda Remix) 10. Look at U (Deadmau5 Remix) 11. Technical Difficulties (Photek Remix)
DEATH TO ANALOG LIMITED EDITION DOUBLE VINYL · MET 588· buy Vinyl
1. Death To Analog 5:15 2. Someday Soon 4:12 3. Kick The Bass 3:42 4. Technical Difficulties 4:20 5. Systeme De Sexe 5:26 6. Maestro 3:30 7. Forever 4:29 8. Spiral 3:22 9. Nvr Say Nvr 4:01 10. Dystopian Girl 5:01 11. Look At U 3:47 12. Stranded 3:57 13. Disease 3:56 14. Futura (DTA Mix) 4:29 15. Spiral (Paul Oakenfold Remix) 6:36 16. Kick The Bass (She Wants Revenge Remix)4:56
KICK THE BASS · MET 587D· buy Digital
1. Kick The Bass 2. Dreamland
DEATH TO ANALOG · MET 579D· buy Digital
1. Death To Analog 2. Someday Soon 3. Kick The Bass 4. Technical Difficulties 5. Systeme De Sexe 6. Maestro 7. Forever 8. Spiral 9. Nvr Say Nvr 10. Dystopian Girl 11. Look At U 12. Stranded 13. Disease 14. Futura (DTA Mix)
DEATH TO ANALOG · MET 579· buy CD
1. Death To Analog 2. Someday Soon 3. Kick The Bass 4. Technical Difficulties 5. System De Sexe 6. Maestro 7. Forever 8. Spiral 9. Nvr Say Nvr 10. Dystopian Girl 11. Look At U 12. Stranded 13. Disease 14. Futura (DTA Mix)

News
Video